Roda Joan Shaw Steed

Born July 27, 1925
Memories of my mother-in-law. By Lori Steed. Today we are here to celebrate the life of Roda Joan Steed. Roda was named after her grandfather Roderick. Many people who did not know her tried calling her Rhoda, but they were soon enlightened to the correct pronunciation. Roda went by many names: Mum, Gram, Grandma, Lady, and even (we found out recently) the endearment of "Ricky" which her husband Ernie called her for a time. Roda's father died when she was just a baby. She and her sister Nessie were raised by her mother and her grandmother . Although the family had public assistance, they never felt deprived. Mum has related many stories of her youth as very happy times in her memory. Roda's family moved from New Zealand to Australia shortly after she was born and so she liked to quip the she was from "the very deep south." At a young age Roda quit school to work full time as a seamstress to help support the family. She excelled at her craft and made all of her own clothes as well as those for the rest of the family. She was pleased to be able to help finance her sister's education and fiercely defended the fact that she did so without a higher education for herself. When Roda married Ernie she made her own wedding dress. She also made her daughter Leonie's wedding dress many years later. Roda's talents were not limited to sewing. She was also an excellent cook. She hosted our wedding rehearsal dinner at her home and made everything from scratch. Those of you who have tasted her "Lamingtons" have enjoyed a special treat. For years she hosted people from all over the world at her dinner table. Her Sabbath dinners after church were legendary. She organized and cooked for countless hospitality dinners for churches for many years. She and Ernie had many overnight guests over the years and she always made everyone feel welcome, comfortable and at home. Roda, Ernie and the family traveled a great deal and to many countries over the years. They felt it was a great education to take their children to see the world and visit many other cultures along the way. They traveled a good deal in later years with their very dear friends Charles and Kathleen Watson. Roda had a fondness for fine china, especially tea cups which she collected over the years (although she did not drink tea or coffee.) She collected Scottish Thistle designs in honor of her Scottish ancestors. Roda also loved chocolate. Preferably milk chocolate in almost any form. I will admit to supplying her with quite a bit of chocolate over the years, as well as a good bit of Scottish Shortbread and Allsorts at Christmas time. She was also very fond of Eggplant Parmesan. We spent many a meal at Olive Garden together so she could get her fill. The bonus for Mum was that they gave out little mint chocolates at the end of the meal. Mum and Ernie used to walk their neighborhood together daily. Mum kept this up after Ernie's death. She said that she loved to walk, but that it was more fun with Ernie. Everything was more fun for her with Ernie. Roda and Ernie worked very hard to help establish this DeBary Adventist church in which our service is being held today. Roda's church family meant a great deal to her. Many members became good friends and many of those same people provided transportation for her after she lost her ability to drive. All of you were very much appreciated. Mum had a tough time accepting that she could no longer drive. She was terribly independent and did not want to rely on others. She finally graciously accepted help from friends and family and admitted that she would not be able to drive confidently anymore due to failing eyesight and increasing confusion behind the wheel. Just over a year ago Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. More recently she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Uterine Cancer. According to Roda's Oncologist, her cancer was a rare aggressive type known as clear cell. In October, Roda also suffered from a mild stroke which affected her right hand and arm and eventually limited her mobility dramatically. Roda lost the love of her life eight years ago, when Ernie passed away. She has missed Ernie with a grief that was painful to see for those close to her. Our one comfort in Mum's passing is that we know that when she wakes again, she will be reunited with her Soul Mate Ernie, as well as her family and friends, in a world without pain and sickness. Also, for Roda I'm sure THERE WILL BE CHOCOLATE!

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